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As a business owner, or even if you are part of a team in a company who has been asked to network for the brand, you will probably have noticed the vast amount of choices you have.

If you are an unnatural networker, then this will possibly fill you with serious anticipation, dread and potentially anxiety.

Breathe.

Take a moment.

Then look into the brand you are representing and see which ones would work best for who you want to target. Your target audience may be micro businesses, where you need to connect with the business owner themselves, or it may be directors of larger companies – or anything in between.

Depending on your target market, you will want to select a different networking group.

You then also need to think of the time you can give, your personal preferences and how you work best in a networking environment – this  you will only find out once you have tried the different types of networking first.

A few that I find work best for the different target audiences are:

  • BNI – this was excellent for trades, however, this can always change depending on who is in the group. If you have a group that is heavily filled with white collar services, and your perfect client is a tradesperson, you will want to find a different group.
  • 4Networking – from what I have seen, this is best for the micro to small businesses. You will tend to meet with the business owner, who is usually a sole trader.
  • Athena / Fabulous Women – I must admit, I loathe female networking, but if your perfect client is a woman, probably with children, then this is the place to go. I may be wrong, but that is my personal finding of this networking group.
  • Business Biscotti – this is an excellent place for a mixture of businesses. It can vary because of the location the group is held – if you go to the Central London locations, there are a lot more professional service based businesses.
  • Rotary Club – once thought of as a mainly older male’s club, the Rotary is changing it’s tune. Working to build its younger membership. This is an excellent place to build your name, to get your name noticed within the community, and the members are often well connected.

These are just a few of the networking groups that you can attend, there are so many out there that you need to spend time researching, attending and asking questions. You need to be a bit brutal – taking note of which ones will really be worth the investment of time, and money, for your own goals.

As you can see as well, that I have only shared one “open networking” style group, this is because as an unnatural networker, I prefer a schedule to my networking. This helps me to stay calm, know what needs to be done and when. If you thrive on going into a room of people, that you could potentially chat with, then open networking groups like Best Of events, Business Biscotti and so on, will be excellent for you. Why? Because they will always have new people, they will have people who are interested in both selling to you, having quick conversations and exchanging cards. This is where the follow up is even more important!

How do you select which networking groups will work for you?

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